Shrimp, Chicken, and Sausage (non-traditional) Paella

Shrimp, Chicken, and Sausage (non-traditional) Paella

Ingredients:

  • 10 inch Paella pan
  • 1/2 cup Rice, dry, short-grain (1)
  • 1 1/4 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 lb Chicken Breast, boneless skinless (2)
  • 10 Shrimp, raw, peeled and deveined, 21-25 or 26-30 count (3)
  • 1 Spicy Sausage (4)
  • 1/2 small Red Bell Pepper, diced fine
  • 1/2 small Onion, diced fine
  • 1 medium Tomato, peeled, diced fine (5)
  • 3 tbsp Parsley, chopped
  • 5 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Avocado Oil

Directions:

  1. If using raw sausage, cook for 3-5 min in a separate pan so that you can cut it into pieces. Slice sausage into small discs of your preferred thickness. (6)
  2. Cut chicken into small, bite size pieces, and season with salt and pepper. Heat paella pan to med-high heat, add avocado oil, and sear the chicken on both sides to a nice brown color. Remove chicken and set aside. Chicken does not need to be fully cooked through as it will continue cooking later.
  3. Add sliced sausage and sear each side. If using thicker pieces, make sure the sausage is fully cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add bell pepper, onion, tomato, parsley, and garlic, and cook for ~8 minutes on med-high, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper. Continually scrape the bottom of the pan, using the tomato juices to help deglaze and get all the good chicken and sausage bits off the pan.
  5. When the veggies are well cooking down and beginning to color, add olive oil and dry rice, and cook for 3-5 minutes, keeping the rice moving.
  6. Add chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to fully remove any seared bits remaining. Add chicken back to pan, bring to a boil, and drop heat to med-low. Simmer the paella for 10 minutes. (7)
  7. Nestle shrimp into the open spots and remaining liquid, and lightly season them with salt. Place sausage pieces on top of dish where it looks open. Cook until shrimp start turning pink.
  8. Increase heat to medium and cook until the liquid has been fully absorbed and the rice begins to crackle and crisp. (8)
  9. Remove from heat and cover with a towel for 5 minutes. Serve with sprinkling of fresh parsley and lemon wedges, if desired.

Notes:

  1. The type of rice is really important for paella, because it will cook up and not be clumpy and thick. It will retain its ability to stay in individual pieces. You can also go a touch on the higher side of 1/2 cup and do a generous 1/2 c.
  2. This dish is more customary with chicken thighs, but we prefer white meat. You can sub in chicken thighs very easily here.
  3. It’s much easier to use shrimp that are peeled, deveined, and with tails off. Obviously in the pic we left the tails on but in subsequent paella recipes I did not have the tails on, and it’s just easier to eat later. You can use whichever shrimp size you like as well, we like smaller shrimp so we did 10-12 of the 26-30 size. The number count designates how many shrimp will usually be in a pound, so the higher number means smaller shrimp as it takes more of them to get to a pound.
  4. I used a spicy chicken sausage from Whole Foods the last few times I made this and really enjoyed it. Linguisa and/or chorizo are more common and work well too.
  5. The first time I made the dish I removed the insides of the tomato and just chopped up the meat of it. I like keeping all the seeds and juice in with the tomato here, as it will add a little bit of moisture and help to deglaze the pan and get the stuck sausage and chicken bits off the bottom, which are very flavorful. If you don’t keep the seeds and juice you may need to add a little oil when you put the veg in.
  6. Raw sausage is going to be hard to slice into pieces so that’s why I par-cook the sausage first. It allows you to properly slice it, and then between the sear and the end of the cooking you will cook it through.
  7. At this point you don’t want to touch or stir the rice. I’ve done the dish where I simmer on low and it ends up taking way too long for the rice to absorb all the liquid, so I recommend doing a heat that’s a touch higher than barely simmering. That’s why I suggest med-low here instead of just low.
  8. Socarrat is the term for the rice that gets crispy on the bottom of the paella, and it is a cherished part of this dish. That’s why we turn the heat up to medium and make sure we cook the dish so all the liquid is absorbed and until you hear the rice crackling and crusting. It’s fun to eat and scrape from the bottom later, and tasty to boot.

“Non-Traditional”:

I’m fully aware that this is not true, Spanish Paella. I do not claim it to be. It’s a very flavorful dish and I’m happy I can cook this well. We’ve made this about once a week since the season ended because we like it that much. As you’ve read, there are plenty of things you can do differently, such as changing out the type of chicken, and adding any combination of seafood and sausage that you’d like. You can add peas or even carrots to the dish as well. In the original recipe I tried, it included saffron and paprika into the chicken stock, and I really did not like the outcome of the dish. I have since omitted that seasoning, along with adjusting most of the other ratios and cook times for a better outcome. I think just using chicken stock results in a cleaner tasting dish, where you get the flavor of the protein and the rice better, accentuated by the veggies used and the caramelization of the crisping rice.